Director Jon M. Chu has built his career making mostly bright, poppy entertainment like Step Up 3D, Jem and the Holograms, Crazy Rich Asians, and the upcoming In the Heights. But he’s dipping into darker territory in Home Before Dark, a new AppleTV+ drama which hails from creators/showrunners Dana Fox (New Girl) and Dara Resnik (Daredevil).
It’s a mystery series centering on 9-year-old journalist named Hilde Lisko, played by The Florida Project’s Brooklynn Prince, and inspired by a real-life kid journalist. In the show, Hilde’s dad (Jim Sturgess from 21 and Across the Universe) gets fired from his job as a reporter in New York City and moves his family back to his hometown, where something horrible happened when he was a kid. Naturally, Hilde goes looking for the truth – and the small town doesn’t like the fact that she’s digging through their old buried secrets.
I spoke with Jon M. Chu and Dana Fox over the phone about the importance of truth, working with Apple, creating the visual style of the series, and more. Read More »
Never Rarely Sometimes Always, the third feature film from writer/director Eliza Hittman, was released in theaters on Friday, March 13 – one of the unluckiest release dates in the history of Hollywood. Theaters began shutting down due to the coronavirus crisis, cutting short the film’s box office prospects and its ability to continue riding the wave of acclaim that began cresting when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Thankfully, after a short break, Focus Features has decided to make the movie available on VOD beginning today, and this morning I caught up with Hittman on the phone to talk about her film’s unusual release, how she captured this movie’s particular texture, and more. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2020 by Fred Topel
Apple has resurrected Steven Spielberg’s anthology series Amazing Stories as part of its Apple TV+ streaming service, the first of their shows to be a revival of a pre-existing show. The original series ran from 1985 through 1987 on NBC. Apple’s first season consists of five hour-long stories.
The first episode of the new series stars Dylan O’Brien as a modern man who travels back in time through the basement of a house he’s restoring. Episode two tells the afterlife tale of a runner (Hailey Kilgore) who gets hit by a car, but stays around to help her friend (E’myri Crutchfield). The newest episode stars Robert Forster as a grandfather who gains super powers from an old toy ring.
Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz serve as showrunners on the new Amazing Stories. Their previous credits include creating and running Once Upon a Time and writing and producing for Lost. Kitsis and Horowitz spoke with /Film by phone this week about Amazing Stories and a little bit about their Beauty and the Beast prequel series for Disney+. New episodes of Amazing Stories premiere Fridays on Apple TV+.
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It took more than 90 years, but Mickey Mouse finally got a theme-park attraction at the beginning of March 2020. (Ah, the beginning of March 2020, when the Disney theme parks were…y’know, open. It was a simpler time, two whole weeks ago.) Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, currently at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the Walt Disney World Resort (and currently in construction at Disneyland Park, arriving in 2022), takes guests on a wild ride themed to the modern, Flash-animated Mickey Mouse shorts that can be found on Disney XD and Disney+. One of the crucial elements of the new attraction is its linchpin song, “Nothing Can Stop Us Now”. The song’s co-writers, husband-and-wife team Christopher and Elyse Willis, talked to Slashfilm recently via phone about writing for theme parks, working as a married couple, and more.
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If you loved or hated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, chances are pretty high that you walked out of the theater loving Babu Frik, the pint-sized alien technician who helped out heroes in a time of great need. /Film recently spoke with creature and special make-up effects creative supervisor Neal Scanlan about the origins of the goofy little droidsmith, building the character model, collaborating with actress Shirley Henderson on the final product, and more. Read More »
The newest film from Pixar Studios, Onward, begins with a look back in history—not our history, but the history of a fantasy world where all manner of mermaids, unicorns, elves, fairies, minotaurs, wizards, and just about any other creature you might find in a role-playing game would exist. But as these fantasy beings find shortcuts to doing magic—Why use your wings to fly when you can board an airplane? Why use a spell to start a fire when you can use matches?—they become lazy, and the magic that made them special starts to disappear from the world at large.
Head of Story for Onward is Kelsey Mann (I’ll let him explain exactly what that job entails), who worked as Story Supervisor (alongside Onward director Dan Scanlon) on Monsters University. He also has a story credit on 2015’s The Good Dinosaur. /Film sat down with Mann in Chicago during recently to discuss that moment in any Pixar production process where the story team literally starts with a blank page, the joy of creating and destroying one’s own fantasy world, and the practical considerations of having a pair of legs be one of your main characters. Onward is now playing nationwide.
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A couple of months ago, when we were putting together our “best of the decade” coverage at /Film.com, I not only put Whiplash on my list of 10 personal favorites of the past ten years, but I also highlighted the film’s climactic drum solo as one of the best movie moments of the entire decade. It’s a dynamic, cathartic, visceral piece of filmmaking from writer/director Damien Chazelle, but it also raises an interesting question: if the end result of immense suffering for your art is that you become a legend, is all of that suffering worthwhile?
Six years after the film’s initial release, Music.Film Recordings is releasing Whiplash: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Deluxe Edition, an album which contains not only composer Justin Hurwitz’s original music and classic jazz numbers, but a bunch of exciting contemporary remixes of those tracks and some unreleased material from the movie as well. /Film is happy to be premiering one of those remixes, Timo Garcia’s upbeat version of “Caravan,” and I had a chance to speak with Hurwitz about this new deluxe edition of the soundtrack, that big question posed at the end of the film, and much more. Listen to the track and read the full interview below. Read More »
Extra Ordinary, a blend of low-key supernatural chills and offbeat Irish comedy, is one of the sweetest and funniest movies of the year.
/Film was able to sit down with writer/directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman and cast members Will Forte, Maeve Higgins, Barry Ward, and Claudia O’Doherty to discuss the film, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival last year and is finally getting its theatrical release this weekend. We discussed the origins of the film, what other movies inspired it, and yes, we even took a diversion into MacGruber.
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Comedy icon Will Forte received his first few breaks in Hollywood as a writer more than 20 years ago. The scribe soon discovered that he was equally adept as an actor, becoming an instant star in the public eye on Saturday Night Live (SNL), to which he graduated from the legendary Groundlings Theatre & School in Los Angeles. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. Forte would dominate the comedy scene in the 2000s and 2010s, acting in noteworthy features such as Beerfest, Fanboys, MacGruber, The Lego Movie, 7 Days in Hell, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, Booksmart, and Goodboys, appearing in hit TV shows including How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, The Cleveland Show, American Dad, The League, The Last Man on Earth, and I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, and frequently collaborating with improv-friendly peers like Andy Samberg and The Lonely Island, Broken Lizard comedy troupe, and Tim and Eric. Forte even flexed his dramatic range, starring in auteur Alexander Payne’s acclaimed film, Nebraska.
As an actor, Forte benefits from his adroitness as a writer. And vice-versa. Both crafts come naturally to him, and both crafts work harmoniously with one another. When reading a script, Forte can more readily deconstruct it and discern whether or not the material works for him. When writing a script (The Brothers Solomon, MacGruber, and The Last Man on Earth are examples of works that Forte has either created, written, or co-written), Forte is finely attuned to the performer, creating scenarios that work for every actor, taking into consideration each person’s various, distinct skillsets, a quality that he undoubtedly picked up writing sketches for himself and his peers while he was at the Groundlings. For Forte’s latest film, Extra Ordinary, the comedic actor was intuitively taken with filmmakers’ Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman’s collective vision from day one.
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Earlier this year, MacGruber fans got the exciting news of America’s greatest hero returning with a TV series over at the NBCUniversal subscription streaming service Peacock. Will Forte will be back as the titular character, a raunchy parody of the resourceful, environmentally conscious 1980s TV character MacGyver, and we recently got a chance to catch up with the former Saturday Night Live cast member to talk about what fans can expect from the MacGruber TV series. Read More »